THIS has been a tough week for everyone who works for the Argus and our sister newspapers.

As most of our readers will know, one of our staff members has been missing since Saturday night.

Ben Caplan works in our newspaper sales department. He has a wife and two young children who are desperately worried about him, as are all of his friends and colleagues at the Argus.

He was last seen outside the Bolero's nightspot in Caerleon at about 11pm on Saturday. Ben had been celebrating his 30th birthday, which was the day before, with some friends.

CCTV footage shows Ben in Caerleon shortly before midnight. And then nothing.

His wife Danielle reported him missing on Sunday afternoon and since then police have been searching for him. There have been unconfirmed sightings of Ben in Newport and Abergavenny but he has yet to be found and he has not made contact with his family.

A night out was a rarity for Ben. And it is totally out of character for him to go missing.

Everyone who knows Ben is praying for a happy ending to this story.

As journalists, we cover missing persons stories on a regular basis.

They are never easy stories to report. But it is even more difficult when the subject of the story is someone you know.

Like most daily newspapers, we have a twice-daily news conference where we discuss the content of the following day's Argus. In the afternoon, someone from our newspaper sales department sits in on the meeting so they know the big stories for the next day and the geographic area on which they need to concentrate their sales fire.

Ben is one of the regulars at our news conferences. I would guess he sits in my office at least twice a week.

When we had heavy snowfall in January he went out of his way to drive me and other staff whose cars were stranded in and out of work in his department's 4x4.

Ben is one of life's good guys.

I've always advised young reporters to imagine they are writing about someone they know when they are dealing with particularly sensitive stories, and to remind themselves that every subject of every story is a person with a family and friends.

If journalists don't do that, they become too hardened and cynical.

This week we haven't had to imagine or to remind ourselves.

This week we have been reporting on the disappearance of one of our own.

I know how worried and upset Ben's closest colleagues in our newspaper sales are. I can only imagine what Danielle and his children are going through.

The picture on this page shows Ben as he was dressed on Saturday night.

We have used the picture as the basis for a poster you will see outside most newsagents in Newport. You can download the poster here.

The more posters that go up, the better.

Most importantly of all, if you have seen Ben - or even if you think you have seen him - please call the police on 101.

And Ben, if you're reading this, pick up the phone mate and call Danielle or any of us. We just want to know you're safe.